BookBrowse General Information Pages

BookBrowse Awards FAQ

How are the winners determined?
Each of the short-listed books is rated on a 5-point scale. The winners are the books with the highest ratio of points to votes in the particular category, so long as the particular title received the minimum number of votes to qualify. For example, Book A receives:
  • 180 'Very Good' votes (very good = 2 points => 180 x 2 = 360)
  • 160 'Good' votes (good = 1 point => 160 x 1 = 160)
  • 50 'Average' votes (average votes carry zero points but do count towards the minimum number of votes needed to be eligible)
  • 21 'Poor' (poor = -1 point => 21 x -1 = -42)
  • 2 'Awful' (awful = -2 points => 2 x -2 = -4)
  • Total Votes = 573. Total Points = 634. Ratio = 1.15

Why not just count votes like everyone else?
The reason for the rating system is to achieve a balance between popularity and quality; so that a book does not win simply because it has been read by more people.

When a committee of judges votes on an award, all the judges will have read all the shortlisted books, so that they can make an informed decision about which deserves to win. However, most people voting in 'popular' book awards have not read all the books on the list, so they are only in a position to cast a vote for the books they have read (and will tend to do so, even if they've only read one book on the list, and even if they did not consider it particularly exceptional).

Obviously, this sort of voting favors the most widely read books, which are not necessarily the 'best' books. For example one of the top 3 most widely read books shortlisted for the 2005 Awards actually scored at the bottom of the table when the ratings were factored in!

When voting in the BookBrowse Awards, a person has the opportunity to rate the books he/she has read, instead of simply casting a vote.


How many votes are cast?
Depending on the number of books on the shortlist there are normally between 3000 and 5000 votes.


Don't the books at the top of the list get an advantage because people might not take so much care with their voting further down the list?
No, because the display order is randomized each time the list is viewed.


Where do I go to vote?
Only BookBrowse subscribers are eligible to vote. A voting link is sent directly to subscribers by email. If you wish to be part of the voting process in the future, make sure that you're on our mailing list either as a subscriber to our free newsletter, or as a member, or as a patron of a subscribing library.



Why is voting limited to subscribers only?
Because it significantly limits the opportunities for "vote stuffing". For example, where one person enters multiple times with different email addresses, or groups of people enter for the sole purpose of voting for one particular book.

Most consumer awards allow, even actively encourage, those connected with the short listed products/books to contact others to get them to take part in the voting, because this drives up interest in the awards and the business that is sponsoring the awards. However, for obvious reasons, this behavior significantly skews the results.

The BookBrowse Awards voting process is designed to award books based on their inherent quality, not on the size of someone's mailing list!


What about new people subscribing in order to vote?
The request to vote is only sent to the existing subscriber base, it is not announced on the website at all. To be on the safe side, we also monitor the number of new subscribers during the voting period, looking for any abnormalities in the numbers. If there was a significant increase in the number of signups during the voting period we would look carefully at how those votes had been cast!


Why can't I vote for books not on this list?
More than 100,000 new books are published each year in the USA alone. If everybody voted for their favorite books, we would end up with an unmanageably long list which would be next to impossible to analyze and would likely result in no clear winner. Having said that, in recent years we have added an additional field for you to enter names of books that you feel particularly noteworthy. If we find a significant number of people recommend a particular book we will include it in the final results.


Most awards are based on first establishing a 'long list' of potential books, which is reduced to a 'short list' of titles that are read and voted on by the core judging committee. In the case of BookBrowse, think of every book recommended at BookBrowse over the past year as the long list. The shortlist is chosen by our reviewers who each recommend the books that they feel are most memorable from the year; and you, BookBrowse's members and subscribers, are the judges, voting to select the final winners.



Do people have to rate every book they've read?
Please rate every book you have read even if you considered it 'average'. In the same vein, please do not rate books that you have heard about but not read yourself!


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